Despite numbering in the few thousands, the followers of this branch of Islam have been branded a major security threat by the Algerian state. Now, they are facing both a crackdown and a propaganda war.
By Jacob Lindelöw Berntson
In the last six months, at least 70 individuals belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam have been arrested in Algeria. Mass arrests of Ahmadis seem to have commenced in early 2016, but took a more intense turn in July 2016 when Algerian authorities commenced a “dismantling procedure” of the group’s offices in Blida. According to some sources, this resulted in the arrest of hundreds of people.
On November, 20 Ahmadis were sentenced to prison in Skikda, and the following month 33 individuals were arrested in Sétif. In late February, there were reports of the group’s leader being arrested in Chlef. On 2 March the High Islamic Council of Algeria issued a fatwa calling for an end to “Ahmadi activities,” and on 13 March another 15 Ahmadis were arrested in Bejaïa.
As this has occurred, the Algerian government (or the pouvoir as the Algerians call it) has accused Ahmadiyya followers for promoting extremism and for practicing “suspect” and “foreign” religious rites.
What is peculiar with both the arrests and rhetoric is how sudden they have become commonplace. Although foreign media have shown little to no interest in Algeria’s Ahmadis, Algerian media now reports on new arrests virtually every week.
The Algerian government traces the presence of the Ahmadis in Algeria to the 1970s. So why has the… read more at source.